Photo: Iwan Baan
The world’s eyeballs were glued to lower Manhattan twice in 2011, first with the unveiling of the World Trade Center Memorial and then with Occupy Wall Street. Outside of New York, the area’s Q rating has never been higher. Inside, the story’s the same, but for very different reasons. Suddenly, a lot of people want to live in the square mile below Chambers Street—56,000 by one recent count, up 60 percent from 2005—and a growing number of businesses and developers, not to mention tastemakers like Danny Meyer and Frank Gehry, are racing to meet them. Here, a comprehensive accounting of the new restaurants, bars, shops, schools, parks, and 24-hour Über-pharmacies turning the onetime office ghetto into a full-fledged neighborhood.
The party no longer ends at happy hour.
The neighborhood’s traditionally pubby drinking scene got its first destination cocktail joint over the summer in Silver Lining (1) (75 Murray St., nr. Greenwich St.; 212-513-1234), a subterranean jazz bar run by Little Branch vets. Serious imbibers are also alighting on The Living Room (2) (123 Washington St., nr. Albany St.; 646-826-8646), which slings drinks designed by mixologist Charlotte Voisey on the moodily lit fifth floor of the W Downtown hotel. The beer scene has also improved dramatically thanks to Porterhouse Brewing Company at the historic Fraunces Tavern (3) (54 Pearl St., nr. Broad St.; 212-968-1776) and Keg No. 229 (4) (229 Front St., nr. Peck Slip; 212-566-2337), which offers a 21st-century take on beer appreciation, with self-serve draft spouts and consumption-tracking LED screens. Two-story newcomer The Growler Bites & Brews (5) (55 Stone St., nr. William St.; 917-409-0251) takes a resident-friendly stance by welcoming patrons’ pooches to its cobblestone patio. It’s two-legged customers only at the Bailey Pub & Brasserie (6) (52 William St., nr. Wall St.; 212-859-2200), a classic late-night deal-sealing operation with soaring windows, a steak-frites-leaning menu, and red leather banquettes.
It’s not just Boar’s Head heros anymore.
The arrival of several major lunch players from elsewhere in the city has signaled the end of the reign of the dirty-floor deli. That sea change gained momentum with, what else, a Shake Shack (1) (215 Murray St., nr. West St.; 646-545-4600), which is rumored to reserve one grill for upstairs neighbors Goldman Sachs. The Luke’s Lobster (2) (26 William St., nr. Broad St.; 212-747-1700) boys likewise brought their popular lobster-roll operation down to these parts over the summer, while Julian Medina chose the financial district for his Toloache Taqueria (3) (83 Maiden Ln., nr. Gold St.; 212-809-9800), the casual, order-at-the-counter branch of his mini Latin American empire. French chef François Payard (4) (210 Murray St., nr. West St.; 212-566-8300) joined the migration with his casual pastries-and-sandwiches-and-salads concept in October. Even Chicago-based sub chain Potbelly Sandwich Shop (5) (101 Maiden Ln., nr. Pearl St.; 646-289-4201) zeroed in on the hood for its first New York location, introducing its Dagwood-worthy stacks of meat, meat, and more meat to Wall Street this summer.
Where Danny Meyer goes, many follow.
In his hotly anticipated North End Grill (1) (104 North End Ave., at Vesey St.; 646-747-1600), Meyer hopes to do for Fidi what Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster did for Harlem—that is, rouse a sleepy fine-dining scene. The 120-seat restaurant, with Floyd Cardoz of Tabla at the helm, plans to unveil its open kitchen and serious Scotch menu before the New Year. Another Meyer operation, a smaller outpost of Gramercy’s Blue Smoke (2) (225 Vesey St., nr. North End Ave.; no phone yet), is also slated to open by year’s end. Meanwhile, Renowned U.K. bartender Sean Muldoon and Puck Fair’s Danny McDonald are teaming up on a bar, The Dead Rabbit (3) (no address or phone yet), that will focus on mid-nineteenth-century drinking culture, with one room devoted to craft beers and a fancier one re-creating punches and other cocktails from that era. Cocktail buffs will also herald the arrival of Demi Monde (4) (90 Broad St., nr. Stone St.; no phone yet) from Death & Co.’s David Kaplan, David Blatt of Interstate Food & Liquor, and others. Also coming up: Pizza Vinoteca (5) (32 Water St., nr. Broad St.; no phone yet), a wine-and-grilled-pizza experiment from Top Chef all-star Stephen Asprinio; and an unnamed project on Pier A (6) (Pier A, 4 Battery Pl., nr. West St.) from Peter Poulakakos of Harry’s Steak, Financier Patisserie, Ulysses, and the Growler Bites & Brews. His group won the coveted lease to Victorian Pier A in Battery Park City, where they’ll open a beer garden, seafood restaurant, and oyster bar in 2013.
Eat your locavore heart out, Union Square.
Since its founding in 2005, the New Amsterdam Market (1) (South St. nr. Peck Slip; Sundays, May through December) at the old Fulton Fish Market site has grown from an occasional event to a monthly happening to (nowadays) a weekly fixture endowed with prepared pickles and salamis, an impressive local wine selection, and more lobster rolls from Luke’s. Veggie lovers can also stock up at area Greenmarkets, including the neighborhood’s newest Greenmarket at the World Financial Center (2) (South End Ave. at Liberty St.; Thursdays, April through December), where a concierge service lets office workers shop early and pick up purchases at the end of the day. At the Andaz Wall Street farmers’ market (3) (75 Wall St., nr. Pearl St.; Saturdays and Wednesdays, April through mid-December), some of the farmer vendors that supply hotel restaurant Wall & Water offer their wares direct to consumers in the Andaz courtyard. There’s also a weekly CSA in collaboration with Pennsylvania-based Down Home Acres Farm.